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U.S. Supreme Court

Should SG Verrilli Be Criticized? After All, He Was Interrupted 103 Times in 56 Minutes

Posted Apr 3, 2012 7:41 AM CDT
By Debra Cassens Weiss

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A veteran of Supreme Court oral arguments says Solicitor General Donald Verrilli shouldn’t be criticized for his Supreme Court performance last week.

In a column for the Washington Post, lawyer James Feldman says Verrilli was interrupted 103 times last Tuesday during his initial 56-minute argument to uphold the health law's insurance mandate. A lawyer for the challengers, Paul Clement, was interrupted only 33 times in a 30-minute argument.

Often, Verrilli was able to speak only 20 words or so before getting another question.

“The only good measures of a Supreme Court advocate,” Feldman writes, “are whether he has made the best arguments in favor of his position and whether the justices understand those arguments. In this respect, Verrilli succeeded.”

Prior coverage:

ABAJournal.com: “GOP Ad Alters Audio of Health Care Arguments, Making Solicitor General Appear Bumbling”

ABAJournal.com: “Which Justices Dominated Oral Arguments on Insurance Mandate? Blog Tallies the Lines”

ABAJournal.com: “Will Administration Get Fifth Vote to Uphold Health Care Law? Maybe Not, Arguments Suggest”

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